in Chicago, IL

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While many city tourists and locals visit places to admire the big city or the beautiful parks, the festivals in America are a big part of what makes the country grand and the event worth attending. Each city brings its own cultural and historical heritage that are celebrated through various festivals and events. Some cities have similar types of festivals or events, and others have unique annual celebrations.

See how many festivals you can fit on your itinerary! These celebrations are going to give you memories of a lifetime as they reflect the art, culture, heritage and the music of each city in the most exciting way. Show up and have fun with your friends, make memories and celebrate the love of food, wine, music, art, history, culture, traditions, and more at these gatherings.
Chicago Latino Film Festival
Chicago Latino Film Festival

(312) 431-1330

542 S Dearborn St Ste 610
Chicago, IL 60605   Directions Website

The Chicago Latino Film Festival is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote and raise awareness of Latino cultures through various art forms and education. One of their main events is the Chicago Latino Film Festival, which showcases about 100 films from Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, and the US.

The Festival allows film enthusiasts in Chicago, regardless of their backgrounds, to watch movies they may not have seen otherwise. The movies featured in the Festival include films that have gained global recognition on the festival circuit, box office hits in their countries of origin, and those that have yet to be released in theaters. The Festival initially premiered with 14 films projected onto a concrete wall, drawing an audience of 500 people. Apart from films, the Festival also features music, dance, comedy, theater, and visual arts, making it a comprehensive celebration of Latino culture.

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade
Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

(312) 278-7924

108 N State St
Chicago, IL 60602   Directions Website

Celebrate the holiday season with the nationally televised Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, which has been ranked the second-best Thanksgiving Parade in the country by Time Out Magazine. Witness the excitement as talented marching bands, majestic equestrian units, national celebrities, and spectacular performance groups march through downtown Chicago.

Why settle for watching a parade meander through New York City on TV when you can see giant cartoon-character balloons, marching bands, and dancers on the streets of Chicago? If you are in the city on Thanksgiving, you can catch the annual procession before indulging in your turkey. The Parade moves down State Street between Ida B. Wells Drive and Randolph Street and ends by 11 am, providing you with ample time to return home and assist with the cooking. The event commemorates Thanksgiving with a three-hour procession of giant balloons, marching bands, dancers, and more.

ChristKindlMarket Chicago
ChristKindlMarket Chicago

(312) 494-2175

3635 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60613   Directions Website

The Christkindlmarket Chicago is a traditional holiday market that offers a unique shopping experience, family-friendly events, and intercultural activities. It is considered the most authentic of its kind outside of Europe. The market combines beloved German and European traditions with local charm and international flair. It draws inspiration from the 16th-century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which was one of the first outdoor markets of its kind. The Christkindlmarket is well-known for its high-quality gifts and food, holiday cheer, and ability to create lasting family memories.

The German-style outdoor market has become so popular that it has expanded to several locations in Illinois and Wisconsin. The Christkindlmarket offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, lively entertainment, and a variety of original food and beverages, such as imported mulled wine from Germany called Glühwein. In 2022, it was ranked number three worldwide and number one outside of Europe by Big 7 Travel, and it has been recognized as one of the best Christmas markets. The Chicago Tribune, Choose Chicago, and Chicago Magazine have all mentioned the Christkindlmarket as a popular and preferred destination.

Jazz Institute of Chicago | Chicago Jazz Festival
Jazz Institute of Chicago | Chicago Jazz Festival

(312) 427-1676

410 S Michigan Ave Ste 500
Chicago, IL 60605   Directions Website

Chicago Jazz Festival invites you to a four-day celebration of jazz featuring world-class artists. The festival is free and open to the public and will take place at Millennium Park, downtown Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, and various venues across the city. The Labor Day weekend festival aims to promote all forms of jazz and showcase Chicago's local talent alongside national and international artists. The event seeks to raise awareness and appreciation for one of the city's most beloved art forms.

As the only jazz organization in Chicago that offers a wide range of opportunities for artists, both old and new, they provide high-visibility venues for creating and performing new work. They collaborate directly with Chicago Public School teachers to develop programs for their students and professional development for themselves. Additionally, they present the city's most significant artists in their communities, building an audience that crosses racial and geographic boundaries to break through historical barriers that have been obstacles to the evolution of music.

Lincoln Park Greek Fest
Lincoln Park Greek Fest

(773) 525-1793

2701 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60614   Directions Website

Join the Lincoln Park Greek Fest and see what being Greek means by enjoying life to the fullest and relishing the world around you. The Lincoln Park Greek Fest provides an opportunity to experience the ancient Greek concept of "filoxenia" and the famous hospitality of the Greek culture. This popular annual cultural celebration, held on the grounds of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, offers authentic and flavorful food, great music, dancing, and pure fun.

St. George Greek Orthodox Church and the Lincoln Park Greek Community are proud to host the Lincoln Park Greek Fest. It is an opportunity for everyone to embrace and celebrate Greek culture, even if they are not of Greek heritage. The fest promises everyone will be proudly Hellenic for at least a day. So, come on, elate! Be Greek for a day and experience what they are all about.

337 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601   Directions Website

Lollapalooza is a music festival that features over 170 bands across nine stages worldwide. The festival takes place in Grant Park, located in the heart of downtown Chicago, with the stunning Chicago skyline serving as a backdrop.

In addition to the impressive lineup, Lolla offers interactive areas where attendees can participate in giveaways, purchase merchandise, and more. Chow Town, the festival's food area, features delicious food, drinks, and sweets from some of Chicago's favorite restaurants. The emphasis is on fresh, reasonably priced items from local vendors rather than the typical "carnival" fare. For those looking to elevate their Lolla experience, you can purchase GA+, VIP, or Platinum tickets, which provide access to prime views, exclusive lounges, luxury amenities, and getaways from the crowds.

Ravinia® Music Festival
Ravinia® Music Festival

(847) 266-5100

418 Sheridan Rd
Highland Park, IL 60035   Directions Website

The Ravinia Festival is a popular event that attracts over 600,000 visitors annually. The festival takes place from June to September at Ravinia Park, which hosts 120 to 150 music events.

The Breaking Barriers Festival is part of a successful series of concerts and symposiums focusing on female conductors. This time, the festival celebrated female composers in classical, jazz, and singer-songwriter genres. The festival featured three evening concerts, panel and roundtable discussions, workshops pairing composers and conductors, and other events collaborating with New Music USA and The Chicago Network.

Ribfest Chicago
Ribfest Chicago

(773) 525-3609

4000 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60618   Directions Website

The Northcenter neighborhood of Chicago hosts Ribfest Chicago, an annual three-day food festival during the summer. It has been celebrating the love for BBQ for 23 years and has gained immense popularity. Ribfest Chicago attracts over 60,000 visitors yearly who feast on an average of 50,000 pounds of pork.

The festival has been featured in both local and national media, and BBQ experts from all over the Chicagoland area compete for awards such as "Best Ribs" and "People's Choice." But Ribfest Chicago is not just about delicious ribs but also a nationally recognized indie music festival. The event features top local and national acts on two stages, providing an excellent opportunity to enjoy live music. Ribfest Chicago is not only for adults but also a family-friendly event. The festival offers a "Kids Square" that provides three fun-filled days for children, including sliding, climbing, jumping, riding, dancing, and live entertainment.

The Magnificent Mile | Lights Festival
The Magnificent Mile | Lights Festival

(312) 344-2336

625 N Michigan Ave Ste 401
Chicago, IL 60611   Directions Website

Prepare to kick off America's holiday season in style at The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. This mile-long festival has attracted over a million visitors daily for more than 32 years now. The festival's nighttime parade on Michigan Avenue is the largest in the United States, featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse from The Walt Disney World Resort leading the way.

The event boasts an impressive lineup of fantastic floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, Santa Claus, fireworks, and more. The parade illuminates over a million lights on 200+ trees along The Avenue, creating a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Wells Street Art Festival
Wells Street Art Festival

(312) 951-6106

1600 Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610   Directions Website

The Wells Street Art Festival is an annual event on the second weekend of June. It is located in Old Town's popular Wells Street corridor and attracts around 50,000 visitors yearly. The festival showcases talented artists from across the continent specializing in traditional painting, sculpture, artisan woodworking, metalsmithing, jewel crafts, digital arts, and more.

Additionally, there is a dedicated performance stage where local musicians, performance artists, and cover/tribute bands entertain the crowd throughout the weekend. Moreover, at the corner of Wells Street and Evergreen Street is a children's play area where kids can participate in arts and crafts, watch a performance, or have fun. The festival also has over 20 food and drink vendors who sell a variety of tasty treats. Visitors can try something from all the excellent Old Town restaurants participating.

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